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07 May 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Charl Devenish
Noko Masalesa
Noko Masalesa, Director of Protection Services, in conversation with students and stakeholders to plan a safe way forward.

Safety and security are human rights that constitute social justice. At the centre of the agenda at the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Social Justice Week held on the Bloemfontein Campus from 17-22 April 2019 were discussions about off-campus safety. Stakeholders agreed on an upgrade to security measures in order to ensure the success and wellbeing of the student population.

A call to students

Prof John Mubangizi, Dean of the Faculty of Law, in his capacity as representative of the UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, expressed his view on institutions of higher learning no longer functioning as ivory towers. “For any initiative to succeed, collaboration is necessary between key roleplayers,” he said.

He aptly pointed out that: “We cannot underscore the importance of safety and security, not only for the university but also for the communities around us. What the university does benefits the community and vice versa. I pledge the university’s commitment to play a leading part to ensure that the collaboration works,” said Prof Mubangizi.

Beefing up security: Who is involved?

In view of the collaborative effort Prof Mubangizi alluded to, the engagement was twofold. First was the roundtable discussion facilitated by Protection Services which then escalated into a public dialogue where students had the opportunity to interact with external delegates.

The South African Police Services, Community Police Forum, Private Security, Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, Provincial Commissioner, and Deputy Minister of Police were well represented in this critical conversation. Internally, members of Protection Services, Housing and Residence Affairs, Student Affairs, Institute for Social Justice and Reconciliation, Student Representative Council, and the Department of Criminology heard the plight of off-campus safety faced by students.

Changes in the horizon

The discussions culminated with recommendations which will see the future of student safety take a different direction. According to Skhululekile Luwaca, former SRC president, these include “the municipality’s commitment to immediately address issues such as street lights and enforcing by-laws, ensuring an integrated accreditation system, and drafting a policy for off-campus accommodation, running more crime awareness campaigns, and giving police patrols more visibility.”

In addition to resolving to set up a student safety forum with all the stakeholders, the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality has invited the UFS to join Reclaim the City – a safety forum where practical solutions to crime are devised and implemented on a weekly basis.


News Archive

Two Kovsies in SA Netball team for World Student Games
2016-04-18

Description: Lauren-Lee Read More Tags: Lauren-Lee Read More

Lauren-Lee Christians became the 12th Protea from the University of the Free State in 2015. She will play for the South African Universities Netball team in America during July.
Photo: SASPA

Two students from the University of the Free State (UFS), Lauren-Lee Christians and Karla Mostert, were selected for the South African Universities Netball team.

The team, with eight Proteas in its ranks, will be in action at the World Student Games in Miami, USA, from 13 to 17 July 2016.

Among the criteria for selection is that participants should not be older than 27 years in 2016, and they should have been students last year.

The South Africans, who came in second during the inaugural tournament in Cape Town four years ago, will be difficult to beat this time. A total of 12 countries will compete for the title of student champions.

Mostert part of previous successful team

Mostert was one of five Kovsies playing for this team in 2012, when South Africa lost 49-53 to Britain in the final. This came after the score was even at the end of regular play.

Mostert was also one of the two best players for the Proteas at the World Cup last year. Christians just missed out, and had to be content with being a non-travelling substitute after she became the 12th Protea of the UFS earlier in 2015.

Four from UFS in Cucsa squad

Meanwhile, four other of their teammates - Rieze Straeuli, Tanya Mostert, Kgomotso Mamburu, and Alicia Puren - were included in a provisional squad of 15 players to compete for the South African student team at the Cucsa Games (Southern African Student Games). This squad will soon be reduced to the 12 players who will represent their country in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, from 1 to 6 August.

No Protea can be selected for this student team. A fifth Kovsie, the goal shooter, Dénielle van der Merwe, was also selected for the initial squad, but had to withdraw due to a serious leg injury.


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